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Tale of Two Cities

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

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This past week was an interesting one… I had a very busy week from a work perspective and as such, was a bit tired throughout the week. This, coupled with the fact that I jinxed myself a week ago, has left me under the weather (why would I utter the phrase “I can’t believe that I’ve managed to make it nearly two months on this trip without getting sick!” ?? Surely I was asking for it…). The upside of this is that I am in a country where they freely give prescription medication… the downside, of course, being that I can’t read the labels and have to trust that:

1. The pharmacist understood my ailments and
2. Taking everything together isn’t going to send me to either detox or rehab.

That said, I’m halfway into a 4.5 hour train ride to a city on the West Coast of France called ‘Brest’ for a meeting tomorrow morning. From there I’ll head back to Paris Monday evening for my last few days in France.

Summary since last blog:

Weekend of 20/21: It’s almost difficult to remember what I did that weekend! So much happens in a week. Anyway, Rachel and I got a late start on Saturday, but still managed to enjoy a day walking around the lovely city of Paris. We visited Notre Dame – I even went inside this time!  It’s quite a beautiful structure and I discovered that right outside of it is a place that marks the center of France… when you look at a map this doesn’t really make logical sense, but I’ve confirmed it in a few guidebooks so it must be true. Sunday we enjoyed a very cold boat ride on the Seine… after visiting the Opera Garnier (also went in there this time!), the Place de la Concorde and Arc du Triumph. I managed to find a store that was open on a Sunday (leave it to a professional shopper to “sniff” that out!) and bought myself a much needed large black sac. I’m saying ‘sac’ in French, because this makes me feel better… if I had bought another purse I simply wouldn’t have needed it and this would potentially have been a waste of money. Anyway, our friendly (overly-friendly… just ask Rachel) shop keeper gave me a good deal so all in all, happy with the purchase.

22-24: I went to the UK which, if you ask them, is not a part of Europe. Ha ha! So, despite the opinion the writer or readers may have about that, I felt sufficiently removed from Paris and enjoyed my first train trip between the countries underneath the English Channel. Wasn’t nearly as scary as I was expecting and happily, the water didn’t come crashing down in the train tunnel. Monday afternoon when I got in I met up with a colleague and we went to a meeting near the Tower of London. I didn’t have much time in London, but managed to…um, well OK shop for a bit… and then we went to a lovely Italian restaurant near our train station. By that Monday night I was in Cheltenham – a city approx 2 hours to the west of London – which is where our offices are.

It was nice to be in the UK for a few reasons:

1. They have chicken sandwiches (they probably do in France too but I haven’t had much luck finding them…)
2. I could ask directions at the train station and the biggest language barrier was my accent
3. People actually showed up to meetings <gasp>! Having been in France for the 2 weeks prior this was a welcome relief. (note: I did not say “showed up to meetings on time”. It has actually been the case in France where they often just don’t show up at all. And then they get mad at you for not being available 2 hours after said meeting time… but that’s another blog for another time…)

After a few days of back to back meetings I took the journey back from Cheltenham to London to Paris on Wednesday and arrived late that night. Thursday/Friday I spent in all day meetings for work, so nothing exciting to report about that.

This weekend (27/28): Yesterday Rachel and I visited Versailles – which is actually only about a 45-60 min train ride from Paris. It seems farther away when you exit the train station… a city has managed to go up around the Palace, but it still manages to be incredibly impressive. The gold decorations, rolling gardens and interior are remarkable. I took quite a few pictures, so be sure to look at them before you sign off the website. The weather managed to cooperate without much rain, but as you can see there were quite a few “angry” looking clouds throughout the day! Mother Nature’s way of providing a dramatic back-drop of scenery for our pictures, I suppose.

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Today I’m on the train I mentioned earlier… looking forward to a nice dinner when I arrive and hopefully finishing up ‘Part Two’ of my expense report. The side you all don’t see is the horrifying amount of paperwork required to make these business trips possible. ;) Maybe someday I’ll rank high enough to have an assistant!

With that, I will turn my attentions to ‘Le Bar’ – yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. ;)

More to come… only a few more days and I will be on the plane back home. Every part of me is ready… especially the part that is sick and wants her own bed!!

Posted by rubywheels 12:29 Archived in France

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